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not so much, as what is in his own bosom ; what it is, where it is, or whence it is, that gives being to himself. But, for those things which concern the best world, he doth not so much as confusedly see them ; neither knoweth whether they be. He sees no whit into the great and awful Majesty of God. He discerns him not in all his creatures, filling the world with his infinite and glorious presence. He sees not his wise providence, overruling all things, disposing all casual events, ordering all sinful actions of men to his own glory. He comprehends nothing of the beauty, majesty, power, and mercy of the Saviour of the World, sitting in his Huinanity at his Father's right-hand. He sees not the unspeakable happiness of the glorified souls of the saints. He sees not the whole heavenly commonwealth of angels ; ascending and descending to the behoof of God's children; waiting upon him at all times invisibly; not excluded with closeness of prisons nor desolateness of wildernesses : and the multitude of evil spirits, passing and standing by him, to tempt him unto evil ; But, like unto the foolish bird, when he hath hid his head that he sees no body, he thinks himself altogether unseen; and then counts himself solitary, when his eye can meet with no companion. It was not without cause, that we call a mere fool a Natural : for, however worldlings have still thought Christians God's fools, we know them the fools of the world. The deepest philosopher that ever was, saving the reverence of the Schools, is but an ignorant sot, to the simplest Christian for, the weakest Christian may, by plain information, see somewhat into the greatest mysteries of nature, because he hath the of reason common with the best ; but the best Phi. Josopher, by all the demonstration in the world, can conceive nothing of the mysteries of Godliness, because he utterly wants the eye of faith. Though my insight into matters of the world be so shallow, that my simplicity moveth pity, or maketh sport unto others; it shall be my contentment and happiness, that I see further into better matters. That, which I see not, is worthless; and deserves little better than contempt: that, which I see, is unspeakable, inestimable, for comfort, for glory,
LXXXIU. It is not possible, for an inferior to live at peace, unless he have learned to be contemned : for, the pride of his superiors, and the malice of his equals and inferiors, shall offer him continual and inevitable occasions of unquietness. As contentation is the mother of inward peace with ourselves; so is humility the mother of peace with others : for, if thou be vile in thine own eyes first, it shall the less trouble thee to be accounted vile of others. So that a man of a high heart, in a low place, cannot want discontentment; whereas a man of lowly stomach can swallow and digest contempt, without any distemper: for, wherein can he be the worse for being contemned, who, out of his own knowledge of his deserts, did most of all contemn himself? I should be very improvident, if, in this calling, I did not look for daily contempt ;
wherein we are made a spectacle to the world, to angels, and men. When it comes, I will either embrace it, or contemn it: embrace it, when it is within my measure; when above, contemn it: so embrace it, that I may more humble myself under it; and so contemn it, that I may not give heart to him that offers it, nor disgrace him for whose cause I am contemned.
LXXXIV. Christ raised three dead men to life : one, newly departed; another, on the bier; a third, smelling in the grave: to shew us, that no degree of death is so desperate, that it is past help. My sins are many and great : yet, if they were more, they are far below the mercy of him that hath remitted them, and the value of his ransom that hath paid for them. A man hurts himself most by presumption : but we cannot do God a greater wrong, than to despair of forgiveness. It is a double injury to God; first, that we offend his justice by sinning ; then, that we wrong his mercy with despairing
LXXXV. For a man to be weary of the world through miseries that he meets with, and for that cause to cover death, is neither difficult, nor commendable; but rather argues a base weakness of mind. So it may
be a cowardly part, to contemn the utmost of all terrible things, in a fear of lingering misery: but, for a man, either living happily here on earth, or resolving to live miserably, yet to desire his removal to heaven, doth well become a true Christian courage, and argues a notable mixture of patience and faith : of patience, for that he can and dare abide to live sorrowfully; of faith, for that he is assured of his better being otherwhere, and therefore prefers the absent joys he looks for, to those he feels in present. No sorrow shall make me wish myself dead, that I may not be at all: no contentment shall hinder me from wishing myself with Christ, that I may be happier,
LXXXVI, It was not for nothing, that the wise Creator of all things hath placed gold, and silver, and all precious minerals under our feet, to be trod upon; and hath hid them low in the bowels of the earth, that they cannot without great labour be either found, or gotten: whereas he hath placed the noblest part of his creation above our heads; and that so open to our view, that we cannot choose but every moment behold them. Wherein what did he else intend, but to draw away our minds from these worthless and yet hidden treasures, to which he foresaw we would be too much addicted; and to call them to the contemplation of those better things, which, beside their beauty, are more oblivious to us; that in them we might see and admire the glory of their Maker, and withal seek our own? How do those men wrong themselves and misconstrue God, who, as if he had hidden these things because he would have them sought and laid the other open for neglect, bend themselves wholly to the seeking of these earthly commodities;
than it; yet
and do no more mind heaven, than if there were none! If we could imagine a beast to have reason, how could he be more absurd in his choice? How easy is it to observe, that still, the higher we go, the more purity and perfection we find! (So earth is the very dross and dregs of all the elements : water somewhat more pure
also more feculent than the air above it: the lower air less pure than his uppermost regions; and yet they as far inferior, to the lowest heavens : which again are more exceeded by the glorious and empyreal seat of God, which is the heaven of the just): yet these brutish men take up their rest, and place their felicity, in the lowest and worst of all God's workmanship; not regarding that, which, with its own glory, can make them happy. Heaven is the proper place of my soul : I will send it up thither continually in my thoughts, while it sojourns with me, before it go to dwell there for ever.
LXXXVII. A man need not to care for more knowledge, than to know bimself: he needs no more pleasure, than to content himself; no more victory, than to overcome himself; no more riches, than to enjoy himself
. What fools are they, that seek to know all other things, and are strangers in themselves ! that seek altogether to satisfy others' humours, with their own displeasure that seek to vanquish kingdoms and countries, when they are not masters of themselves! that have no hold of their own hearts ; yet seek to be possessed of all outward commodities ! Go home to thyself, first, vain heart: and, when thou hast made sure work there, in knowing, contenting, overcoming, enjoying thyself, spend all the superfluity of thy time and labour upon others.
LXXXVIII. It was an excellent rule that fell from Epicure (whose name is odious to us, for the father of looseness ;) That if a man would be rich, honourable, aged, he should not strive so much to add to his wealth, reputation, years, as to detract from his desires. For, certainly, in these things, which stand most upon conceit, he hath the most, that desireth least. A poor man, that hath little and desires no more, is, in truth, richer than the greatest monarch ; that thinks he hath not what he should, or what he might; or that grieves there is no more to have. It is not necessity, but ambition, that sets men's hearts on the rack. If I have meat, drink, apparel, I will learn therewith to be content. If I had the world full of wealth beside, I could enjoy no more than I use : the rest could please me no otherwise, but by looking on. And why can I not thus solace myself, while it is others' ?
LXXXIX. An inconstant and wavering mind, as it makes a man unfit for society (for that there can be no assurance of his words or purposes; neither can we build on them, without deceit) : so, besides that it makes a man ridiculous, it hinders him from ever attaining
any perfection in himself (for a rolling stone gathers no moss ; and the mind, whilst it would be every thing, proves nothing: Oft changes cannot be without loss) : yea, it keeps him from enjoying that, which he hath attained. For, it keeps him ever in work : building, pulling down, selling, changing, buying, commanding, forbidding. So, while he can be no other man's friend, he is the least his own. It is the safest course for a man's profit, credit, and ease, to deliberate long, to resolve surely ; hardly to alter; not to enter upon that whose end he foresees not answerable ; and, when he is once entered, not to surcease till he have attained the end he foresaw, So may be, to good purpose, begin a new work, when he hath well finished the old,
XC. The way
to heaven is like that, which Jonathan and his armourbearer passed, betwixt two rocks; one Bozez, the other Seneh; that is foul, and thorny : whereto we must make shift to climb, on our hands and knees; but, when we are come up, there is victory and triumph. God's children have three suits of apparel; whereof two are worn daily on earth, the third laid up for them in the wardrobe of heaven they are ever either in black, mourning; in red, persecuted; or in white, glorious. Any way shall be pleasant to me, that leads unto such an end. It matters not, what rags or what colours I wear with men; so I may walk with my Saviour in white, and reign with him in glory,
XCI. There is nothing more easy, than to say divinity by rote; and to discourse of spiritual matters from the tongue or pen of others; but to hear God speak it to the soul, and to feel the power of religion in ourselves, and to express it out of the truth of experience within, is both rare and hard. All, that we feel not in the matters of God, is but hypocrisy; and, therefore, the more we profess, the more we sin. It will never be well with me, till, in these greatest things, I be careless of others' censures, fearful only of God's and my own; till sound experience have really catechized my heart, and made me know God and my Saviour otherwise than by words. I will never be quiet, till I can see, and feel, and taste God: my hearing I will account as only serving to effect this, and my speech only to express it,
XCII, There is no enemy can hurt us, but by our own hands. Satan could not hurt us, if our own corruption betrayed us not: afflic. tions cannot hurt us, without our own impatience: temptations cannot hurt us, without our own yieldance: death could not hurt us, without the sting of our own sins: sin could not hurt us, without our own impenitence : How might I defy all things, if I could obtain not to be my own enemy! I love myself too much, and yet not enough. O God, teach me to wish myself but so well as thou wishest me, and I am safe,
XCIII. It grieves me to see all other creatures so officious to their Maker, in their kind: that both winds, and sea, and heaven, and earth obey him, with all readiness: that each of these hears other, and all of them their Creator; though to the destruction of themselves : and man only is rebellious; imitating herein the evil spirits, who, in the receipt of a more excellent kind of reason, are yet more perverse. Hence it is, that the prophets are ofttimes fain to turn their speech to the earth, void of all sense and life; from this living earth, informed with reason : that only, which should make us more pliable, stiffeneth us.
God could force us, if he pleased; but he would rather incline us by gentleness. Í must stoop to his power, why do I not stoop to his will? It is a vain thing to resist his voice, whose hand we cannot resist.
XCIV. As all natural bodies are mixed; so must all our moral dispositions. No simple passion doth well. If our joy be not allayed with sorrow, it is madness; and if our sorrow be not tempered with some mixture of joy, it is hellish and desperate. If, in these earthly things, we hope without all doubt, or fear without all hope, we offend on both sides ; if we labour without all recreation, we grow dull and heartless ; if we sport ourselves without all labour, we grow wild and unprofitable. These compositions are wholesome, as for the body, so for the mind; which, though it be not of a compounded substance as the body, yet hath much variety of qualities and affections, and those contrary to each other. I care not how simple my heavenly affections are; which, the more free they are from composition, are the nearer to God: nor how compounded my earthly; which are easily subject to extremities. If joy come alone, I will ask him for his fellow; and evermore, in spite of him, couple him with his contrary: that so, while each are enemies to other, both may be friends to me,
XCV. Joy and sorrow are hard to conceal; as from the countenance, so from the tongue. There is so much correspondence betwixt the heart and tongue, that they will move at once: every man, therefore, speaks of his own pleasure and care; the hunter and falconer, of his games ; the ploughman, of his team; the soldier, of his march and colours. If the heart were as full of God, the tongue could not refrain to talk of him : the rareness of Christian communication argues the common poverty of grace. If Christ be not in our hearts, we are godless: if he be there without our joy, we are senseless : if we rejoice in him and speak not of him, we are shamefully unthankful. Every man taketh, yea raiseth occasion, to bring in speech of what he liketh. As I will think of thee always, O Lord, so it shall be my joy, to speak of thee often : and, if I find not opportunity, I will make it.